Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Secrets of Larger Families

Have you ever wondered what it's like to raise a large family? How does that even work?

I certainly have! Granted, I have a bit of experience since the families I nannied had 4 and 6 children. Still, there were plenty of days when I thought "how could I ever handle this many kids?"

And yet I would like a larger family. More than three, for sure (which is what my parents had). I always wished for more siblings growing up and since I'm planning to homeschool my future kidlets, I think having a family on the larger side makes quite a bit of sense. In the end though, it really depends on what God calls me to.

Anyhow, I believe in being prepared, so I love articles that deal with the logistics of raising more than the typical American two. I came across a pretty good one today that sums up a lot of what I've heard from other sources.

No, I don't plan to have eight children. But I do have quite a few more domestic skills than this blogger, so if she can do it with 8, I would think I could manage with 4, 5 or 6...

I know many of my readers come from larger families. What are your thoughts on this? Any tips the writer didn't mention? I'd love to hear!


Victoria said...

My mom is currently pregnant with her eighth.

Most of what that blog post mentions seems quite right, only that mother has things quite easy. Her kids go to school and her husband cooks. Could it get any easier?

For homeschooling families, I'd say that learning how to juggle everything is paramount. I've seen my mom get way overwhelmed because child 1 needs help with math, child 2 wants a drink, child 3 doesn't understand her English lesson, and lunch needs to be made. One way to fix this would be something like this:
Mom can help child 1 with his math while child 2 fills a cup with water. At the same time, child 3 can check over her math problems while she's waiting for mom to be done with child 2, and previously-unmentioned child 4 (in most cases, me) can make lunch and chalk it up as home ec.

I think that the author of that article touches on a good point when she points out that when you have a lot of children, your oldest ones can help you. Really, even eight-year olds can set tables and separate laundry. (Folding it is a different matter.) The eldest of a large family almost always knows how to cook, and if she/he can drive, she/he can even do the grocery shopping for you!

One thing I disagreed with is how the author says that one abosulutely must leave one's children home when one goes shopping. Sure, it's a heck of a lot easier that way, but a lot of times it just DOESN'T WORK. My mom has taken us all shopping with her since we were born. If you trust the kids (and you're not in a bad area) you can send them around the store to get things you forgot, or even delegate them - one gets baking things, one gets milk and cheese and butter, one gets dry goods, etc. Kids like doing that, I've noticed.

Anyway, every family works out differently because every family has different individuals with different personalities. A lot of it is praying for guidance and learning by experience!

RED said...

There's seven in my family altogether, and we're in between with regards to the the "easy" scale: we are all homeschooled, but my father cooks. Sometimes. Even that gets delegated to the older kids for a couple nights a week. Really, as I think she mentioned in the article, there's nothing wrong with making your kids work a bit. :)

And we all went shopping with my mother too, when we were little. Although once the older ones got old enough, they'd often stay home and babysit as well.

ElsieZyel said...

Haha, here's a note from a third girl who's home-schooled in a large family (oldest of 7 kids with one on the way). This article made me laugh. I can relate to a lot of it, except homeschooling involves a lot of multitasking. I boast that I can unload the dishwasher one-handed with the baby one one hip, run over Latin vocabulary with a sister, and make water for tea at the same time. :) Not that I really do that, but I could! ;D